TikTok Dublin data centre to ‘build trust’ amid spying fears

Social media giant TikTok has opened its first European data centre in a bid to mitigate fears surrounding Chinese state surveillance

TikTok’s long-planned Dublin data centre is now operational, the social media giant has confirmed.

TikTok’s Vice-President Public Policy Europe Theo Bertram said Project Clover - the  programme to build a specially-reinforced protective environment around its European user data - is fully under way as its first data centre in Dublin, Ireland, is now up and running, and migration of European user data to the centre has begun. Plans for the first Irish data centre were announced in 2020. He added that two other data centres in Norway and Ireland are currently under construction.

Not much is known about TikTok’s new facility, but the site is said to have cost US$500 and is believed to be an Echelon data centre.

Bertram shared how TikTok has engaged a third-party European security company, NCC Group, to independently audit our data controls and protections, monitor data flows, provide independent verification, and report any incidents. 

TikTok’s Irish data centre to alleviate Chinese state surveillance fears

European users' data is now being migrated to servers in Dublin, which is in a bid to respond to data privacy fears surrounding the app's links to China. TikTok says it has never given any user data to Beijing.

“TikTok’s move to open its first European data centre demonstrates why data sovereignty has become one of the most significant challenges the tech-industry faces, Joe Baguley, CTO, EMEA, VMware explained. “The growth of the data economy presents exciting opportunities for organisations, but the distribution and storage of data beyond national boundaries has become a significant sticking point.”

Baguley adds that following its wave of bans from officials' devices, TikTok is looking to build government and public trust by storing data locally. He continued: “This will not be the end of the battle. It is imperative that they also demonstrate how they are ensuring data sovereignty across borders including within their own control planes and metadata, otherwise they will fail to build the trust they desire.” 

Stephen Bailey, Global Director of Privacy at NCC Group, said: “Our objective scrutiny, monitoring and assurance means platform users in Europe and the UK can have confidence in the enhanced data security standards that TikTok is setting, which go above and beyond European regulatory requirements.”

TikTok reinforcing data security worldwide

Project Clover runs in parallel to a Stateside initiative called Project Texas, which involved promising similar measures to US lawmakers in 2020 to mitigate national security risks posed by the platform.

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